Police Department

Music Fairytale of New York (morceau - 1987)
Fairytale of New York is the most punk Christmas song. A song by the Pogues whose video clip was shot in front of the 23rd Precinct of the city.
The 23rd Police Precinct Station House, at 138 West 30th Street (Beyond My Ken /CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0)
The 23rd Police Precinct Station House, at 138 West 30th Street (Beyond My Ken /CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0)

“The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing Galway Bay
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day”

Lyrics to the song Fairytale of New York

Qualified as the most beautiful Christmas song by many artists, Fairytale of New York has nevertheless suffered the wrath of the BBC censorship. A song by the Pogues that begins as a beautiful love story, continues with a scene of argument and ends with a declaration of love. This popular tune in the UK and the US unveils its video in the Big Apple as the title suggests.

Singing Christmas, a big challenge for The Pogues

The six members of The Pogues took up a challenge from Elvis Costello, who was producing their second album. He asks them to compose a Christmas song. Surprising for this folk band created in 1982 and preferring the fumes of alcohol and cigarette smoke from pubs. We are very far from their punk rock universe.

It will take them two years to release and record this hit. “My wife thought it was old-fashioned, so I asked her to suggest a story for me to write. So the basis of the story comes from her, this idea of a couple falling apart because of life’s difficult moments and finally finding a kind of redemption, [… a true story of mutual friends living in New York,” said Jem Finer, the band’s banjoist.

A life-saving stay in New York

A Fairytale of New York is on track. Shane MacGowan puts the words on paper. But the result is catastrophic and Costello does not keep the first draft. It is then necessary to wait for a saving trip. The composer’s. A stay in New York. A first for him. He immerses himself in the mythical film Once Upon a Time in America by Sergio Leone and seems subjugated by the music of maestro Ennio Morricone. He was inspired in particular by it for the piano overture.

The only thing missing is a woman to complete the harmony. It is not Cait O’Riordan who left the group but Kirsty MacColl.

Christmas at the police station

The technical team invests New York as the title of the song shows to realize the clip. In addition to the Washington Arch where a bagpipe band plays, the band tours the NYPD 23rd Precinct.

Matt Dillon, the actor, then a big fan of the Pogues, makes a remarkable appearance in the opening scene. He plays a police officer in the police station that arrested Shane and Kirsty. It should be noted that the two interpret a couple exchanging rather flowery joys.

Successes and controversies

The rest of the video takes place in the studio or in the cold streets of New York. The sequences are filmed during the week of Thanksgiving.

Fairytale of New York is an immediate success. In November 1978, the song reached number 1 in the Irish charts.

But the lyrics are very disturbing to the British conservative public. In the second verse, Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl exchange “faggot” and “arse”. That was all it took for more than 800 BBC listeners to become outraged and demand that the song be removed. The radio is running. But under the pressure of the fans, the tube returns to the air, a few days later.

Reissued in 1991, 2005 and 2012, A Fairy Tale of New York is a triumph every time. With Last Christmas of Wham! or All I Want For Christmas Is You or Mariah Carey, it is the best-selling Christmas song in the world.


Every December since 2005, Fairytale of New York has entered the Top 75 singles chart in the UK.

134 W 30th St

At 134 W 30th St in New York City stands a police station.

The NYPD 23rd Precinct is located in a residential and commercial area. It covers East Harlem and the Barrio.

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Thank you for respecting the privacy and tranquility of the occupants of this place whose address is taken from the public data available on the Internet. If you are the owner and want us to remove your address, please contact us at site [@] fantrippers.com

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By Damien Canteau

Monday, December 19, 2022

Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.

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